SENATE PRESIDENCY: “No Going Back On Lawan – APC Vows

THE All Progressives Congress (APC) has maintained that the endorsement of Ahmed Lawan as Senate President of the ninth Assembly is a done deal.

In spite of opposition within, the ruling party said it has no iota of regret officially adopting the senator representing Yobe North district to succeed Dr. Bukola Saraki when the parliament is inaugurated in June.

The party spokesman, Mallam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said at press conference, in Abuja, yesterday, that if election to select the principal officers of the National Assembly would hold, it would only be mere formalities.

He reinforced the earlier declaration by the party National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, that the ruling party would not share any position in the National Assembly with members of the People Democratic Party (PDP).

“In a presidential system of government, it is winner takes all. There is no room for power sharing with PDP. The news on whether the party has settled for Lawan has been out. There was an interaction with the senators-elect, with the president, governors, leaders of the party and NWC members where it was presented to the stakeholders that the ruling party has decided on who will be the next senate president according to what the democratic rule says and the person’s name is Senator Ahmed Lawan.

“Since that news broke, this party has not come out to contradict itself. So, that has been done but it’s left for the party to cross the ‘ts’ and dot the ‘I’s to get that sorted out. Let me take that further that my emphasis on the fact that we are not going to share power with the people that Nigerians have rejected including the fact that what the PDP people call juicy committees and we in APC call strategic committees is exclusive for APC.

“We don’t need them to head any committee where they are going to compromise on the promises we have made to Nigerians. Nigerians cannot give us a mandate to take part of it and hand it over to the people they have rejected. We cannot betray the people of this country and we will not do it.

“So, the zoning arrangement for the other position is in the work and just as the media and Nigerians have been informed on who our preferred candidate for the senate president is, we will come out to tell you what the zoning formula is for the remaining offices in the sen- ate and also in the House of Representatives,” he said.

The PDP, on Tuesday, declared that its elected senators and members of the House of Representatives were constitutionally eligible to seek election into any office in both chambers of the National Assembly.

But the APC spokesperson insisted that the ruling party would not expect a single vote of the PDP senators to decide who the next principal officers will be in both chambers of the ninth Assembly.

“It will be a betrayal of trust to go ahead and start sharing power with a party, particularly the PDP that has been rejected by Nigerians. We are smarting from the last experience, what hap- pened when some traitors within the APC fold sold our birth right to an opposition party. Some people now con- sider that to be normal, it is not. In fact that action was not democratic,” he said.

Ali Ndume had, on Tuesday, flayed the endorsement of Lawan, saying that Oshiomhole’s announcement did not have the backing of President Buhari, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and many other senators and party supporters.

In order to avert a repeat of what happened in 2015 in which the opposition party determined who emerged the senate president, President Buhari, governors on the platform of the APC and senators-elect of the party had agreed on a consensus candidate.

But the decision di not gone down well with some lawmakers elected on the platform of the APC.

Senators who have shown interest in the senate plum office include Abubakar Goje, Adamu Abdullahi and Ali Ndume.

However, spokesman for Lawan for Senate President Group of senators, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, told news- men in Abuja that APC senators-elect were carried along in the adoption of Lawan.

Though Abdullahi did not mention Ndume’s name, he was categorical that “it’s not good for somebody to peddle lies.”

The lawmaker added that when Oshiomhole announced the adoption of Lawan, he spoke in the presence of some governors, including those of Oyo, Kebbi and Borno states.

He quoted Oshiomhole to have appealed to senators- elect to support Lawan to avoid the mistake of 2015.

“Immediately he said that, there was instantaneous and spontaneous applause by senators who were there. For somebody to say there was surprise and shock following the announcement, he was economical with the truth. There was no shock, rather there was relief,” he claimed.

He said there was no clear directive by the party in 2015, a situation which led senators to go their different ways in the chamber.

The APC, he noted, has a great role to play in who emerges the Senate President.

“If the party has promised Nigerians good governance, it is only fair and proper for the party to play some role to deliver that good governance. For me, we have learnt our lessons from whatever happened in 2015.

“Even when I’m walking on the street, people say please you people should make sure you learn from your past mistake. As far as I’m concerned, we have unity of purpose.

“We, senators-elect, have made a choice. We have the right to say this is who we want. Our choice is Ahmed Lawan. Do you expect

that Mr. President and the party should abdicate their responsibility? This is what they accused us of in 2015. Now they have spoken, why are you complaining?”

He insisted that the an- nouncement by Oshiomhole should have been sufficient for a genuine party loyalist to abandon his ambition and toe the line of the party.

Abdullahi said there was no doubt that Nigerians would be the best for the emergence of Lawan.“Is it good for you to have bills that are not assented to?” he asked.

On the winner takes all posture of the APC, he said that it did not necessarily mean that the party’s sena- tors would take all positions.

The position of the party chairman on the issue, he said, was that the majority would have its way while the minority will have its say.

Abdullahi, who said that they had been engaging PDP senators-elect, noted that contrary to insinuation, the PDP senators-elect were not interested in any fight.

On the slot of Deputy Senate President, he noted that the party has the responsibility to zone positions.

“One thing I know and which is certain is that the party has zoned the Senate President to the North East. As for Deputy Senate President, I don’t know, the party will decide. When the party decides, there will be no dissent. If you dissent, it will be like a fly that wants to follow the corpse to the grave,” Abdullah said.

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